Advice on Writing

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Advice on Writing

Postby Eldormain » Sun, 17Feb26 21:48

I am looking for advice on structure or organization relating to writing in the choose your own adventure realm. My writing experience is more linear story telling. The choose your own adventure type writing is fun as it gives us, the writers, a chance to explore avenues that we might not normally explore. However, with the learning of DAZ and at least two other programs as well as needing to write the story I am finding myself a bit whelmed. Because of this I haven't looked into any other programs such as AC2 (I don't know if this applies here or if it is just for putting the final game together) but I plan to. I believe I read on one of the threads about a program that helps organize this sort of writing scheme but I don't remember where or what it was called. Or, frankly, if it's the best choice.

As I am refining the story and the various avenues I have been writing what I am considering the main storyline and then in a different document writing the branches that represent the different choices. And this is where I would like some advice on organization, keeping it all straight and from getting too cumbersome.

Also, when thinking about the project as a whole there are some decisions that are just too big for this sort of thing. For instance, giving the player a choice between romantic interest A or B. If you are doing a stand alone title or game this would be okay. But if you are planning an on going storyline this would be a real pain as a creator/designer (needing to include a lot of material that wouldn't be used in game 2 if romantic interest B had been selected). I have played a couple games during their development that, come chapter 2, ask what decisions had been made in the prior chapter. This seems to interfere with the narrative. Although, I imagine this wouldn't exist in the final product.

Cheers.
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby tlaero » Mon, 17Feb27 00:53

AC2 is more of an optimized page creation tool. I'm extremely fast creating pages in it, but I don't use it for organizing my thoughts.

Truthfully, I do most of that in my head, and outline it in Word. But, branching wise, my stories are pretty simple. When planning out the branching spa sex scene in Finding Miranda, Mortze used Excel.
I know that Wolf, who has much more complex branching in his game, uses Visio. Visio is good for flowcharts, which are really what you're talking about with a branching scene. I'm not sure if there's a specific "Story branching tool" out there. If there was something I needed, I guess I'd write one, or incorporate it into AC2. But, realistically, I'm not sure what kind of UI would really scale to the complexity of these games. A graphical diagram (boxes for pages with lines joining them) would break down pretty quickly when you're doing games with over a thousand pages. Maybe something that does a block diagram with scene-sized blocks instead of page-sized? I kind of do that with a list in Word now, but my brain is pretty "word oriented." If I were more "picture oriented" I'd probably use Visio more.

The discussion about 1 romanceable character or 2 is interesting. There are kind of two ways to go about that.
1) Near the beginning of the game, you meet two (or more) characters, and you decide which one to go after.
2) There's one main character, but if you fail with her, maybe there's a scene or two with a secondary character (ala Chloe in DwE and RfJ).

Doing #2 is pretty easy. But #1 is extremely expensive. Unless the two characters are cookie cutter replacements for each other, then you've literally doubled the length of time it will take to make your game. The question, however, is are people really served by that? What if, instead of having one game with two romanceable characters, you had two games, each with one? The two game approach has a number of benefits. You get the first game out in half the time, which lets your fans play it sooner. You can choose whether to have the games run in parallel or sequentially. And you can make the romanceable characters more distinct by changing the player character. If two characters can fall for a single player character, then they, at the very least, have similar taste in men, and are looking for the same things.

The advantage of the single game approach is that people want it. Many people see these games as more of a "dating simulator" than an "interactive story." So they want to be able to go to the bar and pick from a large group of women, as they'd do in reality.

I choose the "multiple game" approach in my games, largely because focusing on one character lets me tell a more complex story in a reasonable time frame. But there are notable games that go the other route, especially ArianeB's "Something In The Air" and Wolf's "Brad's Erotic Week."

For a first game, I'd unquestionably suggest going with one character. Learn to crawl before you try to fly.

As for games that ask at the start of chapter 2 about decisions made in chapter 1, that's generally just to allow you to skip chapter 1. It's not done because the complexity of branches.

Tlaero
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby MaxCarna » Mon, 17Feb27 04:38

Eldormain wrote:I am looking for advice on structure or organization relating to writing in the choose your own adventure realm.


Eldormain,

Take a look on Twine.
https://twinery.org/

I never used it to write but I received a story writed on it, to make the pictures, and it seens great for nonlinear stories.

If I was looking after something to help me creating stories, I would try it.
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby Eldormain » Mon, 17Feb27 07:16

Excellent feedback, Tlaero. Thank you. I will look into Visio and see what I think but I think that staying the course is in order. I have used Word and outlines for years. Sounds like I am whelming for no reason. I think I am like you in regards to being more word oriented. However, and perhaps you are the same, the words are forming the pictures in me brain. I liked what you said about the 2 stories. There is a bit if the K.I.S.S. principle.

When I have played games like the ones you and Mortze are doing I tend to strive for the best results. I may play through once or twice without using the save options or otherwise "cheating." But I, eventually, end up using the saves or other things available to get the most desirable outcome. For instance, I have seen screenshots from Finding Miranda of a three-some or foursome or something. If this is actually in the game I have not figured out how to get to it. Or is that scenes that didn't make it? I am not sure. It look as though it might have been through the MotoCross story line. Again, not sure, and this is fairly common for me with these games. Which I find a little sad because I love seeing all the content and work that had gone into them (both story and images).

Do you consider the work you have done so far with Mortze to be a Single Games?

And I am trying to do my best to keep things as simple as possible but there is a bar set I am also trying to reach. The balancing act.

Eldormain

P: Nice, thanks MaxCarna. I will look at it.
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby tlaero » Tue, 17Feb28 02:55

Unless I'm totally spacing on something, the only two characters to get naked it Finding Miranda are Miranda and Lucas. There was never any threesome or foursome in the story anywhere. Are you sure you're not asking about Redemption for Jessika? That has a hard to find MMF with Marc, Gary, and Cynthia.

I consider DwE, RfJ, and FM to each be single games. I explicitly made the choice to release 3 single games each with its own female character rather than one game with 3 characters in it. And, for me at least, that was unquestionably the right decision. If I had waited to join them together, you wouldn't have played any of the games until, presumably, last December. Instead, you got to play DwE years ago, and RfJ over a year ago, etc.

Then there's the fact that doing multiple games allows you to do different things in a natural way. The gameplay mechanics in DwE, RfJ, and FM are quite different, and I'm able to try different things and see how they work. If I had put the three games together into one I would have pretty much needed to stick to one form of gameplay.

And Mortze was able to improve the art in a way that made sense. It's okay to switch from 3dlight in the middle of a game, like BEW and Pandora are doing, but it's better to do it in between games.

Also, by releasing reasonably sized games we can get feedback and learn what people like and they don't like. Then we can incorporate what people suggest in future games. Although, that's maybe not as useful as it might seem. I put a lot of things into FM based on the feedback we got from RfJ, but very few of the people who gave that feedback said anything that suggested that they appreciated the changes.

You're just so much better off doing multiple short games than one enormous one. I have the utmost respect for Wolf and BEW, but I'd never suggest anyone do a game that way.

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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby Eldormain » Tue, 17Feb28 04:41

I love it, thanks.

I did notice a bit of a difference in writing style. Or ambiance rather. I liked it, that's for sure. Heck, I have liked all three of them. I think I had found Getting to Know Christine first and it opened my eyes to what you can do with this medium. Then I found, kind of ironically, Pandora. You have a knack for making likable characters and doing what good authors do in relation to getting the reader engrossed or caring about the characters.

BEW is pretty amazing. I have been playing it off and on for ages. I think we are effectively thinking about things the same way. Or at least I am thinking about my story the way you are suggesting. The main difference is I am seeing the orverriding story arc that connects them. Which of course you do, too, with yours. I am sure we are just talking about the same thing from two different angles.

Now it's just a matter of deciding how many significant choices to throw into the first game.

Eldormain
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby Crane » Tue, 17Feb28 05:32

Do you mind if i "nterfere"?

To be honest i don`t have much experience playing erotic games but.. since it`s Elsaverse vs BEW/Pandora almost the only games i really like i hope you will let me give an opinion as a player?

First there is a difference between games written by Tlaero and games written by Wolf or Mortze (and almost all the others). I don`t want to sound sexist but Tlaero games are written from a female point of view that`s why you can have threesomes or foursomes but never parallel relationships. Not to mention cheating your partner. And no "corruption". That makes a "serial of sequels" a better choice. Because there are several relationships not related to each other.

BEW or Pandora are written from a male point of view. Let`s say more loose regarding relationships. Yeah there is romance there but still.. more flexible. In that case a single game is more adequate i suppose. Perhaps this is the case, if i understood correctly. Pandora is the best example. (BEW is much more complex).

That said. "A realm" sticks better in a single game. The other option sometimes could be distractive.

Now this is from a player point of view. Of course there is the dificulty factor about which i really know nothing.

P,S, In FM there is only an image of Miranda, Elsa and their partners in a sauna but Tlaero didn`t answer if there will be more elaboration of that scene in the future. Perhaps in some short story?
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby Eldormain » Wed, 17Mar01 01:24

Thank you Crane, for the feedback. Players feedback is always welcome.

I, too, suspected the author of DwE, RfJ, and FM was a woman. By the time FM came out I knew for sure but they did have the smack of a lady. The writing has the ring of a certain insight that you don't normally see with male authors. That being said, Challenge Accepted! [img]images/icones/icon14.gif[/img]

I looked into the threesome I thought I had seen in FM. It appears that whoever had uploaded it near its completion included one image that was not from the game. I am not entirely sure what game it was from or if it is even Mortze's work (hopefully, it wasn't a supporters rewards). But the male in the image was clearly not Lucas. My apologies for mentioning it before verifying.

What I am planning is similar to what Tlaero and Mortze have done in the aforementioned games in regards to execution. A bridged story arc yet individual stories. The first bit at this point in my plan will revolve around the same character/s. Perhaps, a good way to look at it would be chapters 1, 2, etc.

I have two more programs to look into and then back to more learning and rendering.

Cheers,
Eldormain

P: Wow, I just updated my signature and it looks like it is retroactive through all prior posts. Bit of a bummer.
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby tlaero » Wed, 17Mar01 02:56

Yeah, I forgot about the sauna picture in the credits. I haven't decided whether or not to do a short story around that image, but if you'd like such a thing, you should discuss it in the Finding Miranda thread (rather than here). If enough people are interested, it may sway me.

Eldormain, are you saying that one of the unsanctioned uploads not only uploaded the game ahead of the public release, but also changed it? That's disturbing.

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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby Eldormain » Wed, 17Mar01 03:28

Honestly, to the best of my knowledge I would most likely answer 'yes' to that. I could be mistaken but I believe some people have others upload for testing. Not 100% about that, tho.

Eldormain



P: I reread what you posted and the game was posted after release I believe. They didn't change the game itself but with the spot for upload included images from it. One of those images was not from FM, I don't believe.
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby sylakone2 » Fri, 17Mar10 13:46

A really good web based program for writing Choose your own adventure games is http://www.inklestudios.com/inklewriter/
I use this for writing my stories for my games.
It gives you all the things like variables and branching stories and so on.
It is free to sign up and cost nothing to write as many stories as you like.

Usual disclaimer I am not associated with inklestudios in anyway.

I just found this a very useful and free tool

Cheers

Sy
Cheers Sy
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Re: Advice on Writing

Postby Eldormain » Mon, 17Mar13 02:06

Thanks for that sylakone2. I checked it out and then went to bookmark it and found that I already had it bookmarked. I must have come across it in another thread. Looks like a good tool.

Eldormain

[img]images/icones/icon13.gif[/img]
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